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Terry Jones-Koran Saga Continues

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Terry Jones has at least one sin for which he needs to be absolved.

According to a New York Times report today, one man is now dead following protests outside a NATO office in western Afghanistan over Jones’ “stunt,” as President Obama has called it, to burn copies of the Koran on 9/11 in his church’s own protest against Islam and, presumably, against the proposed mosque and community center near the Ground Zero site.

“A fringe Florida preacher may have suspended his Koran-burning, but word reached Afghanistan too late for 24-year-old Muhammed Daoud,” the report says.

And that death could have and indeed would have been avoided had Jones not gone on his hysterical, fire-branded campaign against Islam, and had the media simply ignored that which deserves no limelight. I and many other bloggers have given the story attention, but, at least in my case, I gave it attention only to condemn it and only after large media outfits had already begun courting the disastrous story.

But all this matters not for Daoud, of course, and I hope — but I highly doubt it will — prick like a stick on Jones’ conscience. Again, given what we know about this person, one willing to risk the security of his country and that of the men and women serving in Muslim-dominated countries — not to mention native Middle Easterners — to make his point, we can’t rightly pen a very positive account of the man’s ability to care for his fellow human beings.

Also late this week, in what appears to be a situation in which no one quite knows who said what, Jones is claiming that local imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, had made a deal with him to move the location of Park 51, the official name of the center. Thus, Jones would not hold the Koran burning. But Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man heading up the project, has on multiple occasions said the plan was moving forward. Here is Rauf’s column published recently in the New York Times and a statement made in an interview with ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour.

“Let’s say we moved under this current circumstance with this dialogue,” Rauf told Amanpour. “What will be the headline tomorrow in the Muslim world? ‘Islam under attack in America.’ That’s the theme of it. ‘Mosque forcibly removed by whatever.’ That will feed the radicals. So diffusing terrorism is a necessity for our national security.”

It will feed the radicals indeed. And as Rauf notes in his column, the mosque and community center will not be just for Muslims, and nowhere have I read that the center’s purpose was anything other than about bringing people of different faiths together and fostering an atmosphere of mutual existence. It is only the extremists like Jones and his counterparts in the Middle East who eschew such co-existence.

“Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages,” Rauf said, later adding that the center would include separate places for prayer by which Muslims, Christians, Jews and others can approach their own respective deities.

Regarding Jones’ claim about the movement of the center’s location, Musri said Jones “stretched his words” in a news conference. My opinion: Musri may have conceded more than he was ready to concede in talks with Jones in order to avert the disaster that may have taken place had the book burning went as planned. I highly doubt that Musri overstepped his authority and said outright that the center’s location would be changed for sure. He may have simply implied something along those lines to appease Jones to curb the threat of protests or the loss of life. Or, Jones could be lying, or the truth could be somewhere in between.

Nevertheless the efforts are already too little too late for at least one person. Jones should return to the fire and brimstone pulpit from whence he came and get out of the public sphere, for outside his inflated world of angels and demons and eternal destinations — “one nice and one nasty experience,” as Christopher Hitchens puts it, — he’s a danger to civil society.

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About Jeremy Styron

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/second-string-quran-burners-take-the/ A.B. Caliph

    You flog the media for spotlighting the proposed Qur’an burning, but charitably exempt yourself. “I and many other bloggers have given the story attention, but, at least in my case, I gave it attention only to condemn it ….”

    However, your blog today shows that you’re parceling out your condemnation in a deceitful way. By your account, Pastor Jones has on his hands the blood of Muhammed Daoud, shot to death during a protest in Afghanistan.

    “That death could have and indeed would have been avoided,” you write, “had Jones not gone on his hysterical, fire-branded campaign against Islam, and had the media simply ignored that which deserves no limelight.”

    You conveniently neglect to mention that, according to The New York Times, today’s violent Afghan protestors were incited by their own religious leaders, not by Pastor Jones. “Urged on by their mullahs,” The Times reports, “the protesters on Friday were determined to make a statement.” If you weren’t so dishonest and determined to demonize Pastor Jones, you’d have included this as a third factor in how Muhammed Daoud’s “death could have and indeed would have been avoided.”

    Additionally, The Times quotes Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, a former Afghan prime minister, who raises yet another plausible explanation that you omit. “This shows that the disaffection of the Afghans toward Americans is very, very strong. It’s the result of all those killings of civilians they keep doing.” (Emphasis added.)

    Mr. Ahmadzai almost certainly knows more than you about the temper of his countrymen. Yet instead of blaming Pastor Jones, he faults the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. Pastor Jones hasn’t been killing Afghan civilians. American soldiers have done that for the past nine years, and are pledged to continue doing so for at least another year.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think the point stands, though, that what Pastor Jones has drummed up doesn’t help. Like salt in the gaping wounds, Mr. Kurtz…er, Caliph.

  • http://newspile.weebly.com/ jack

    Funny story about Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Center Quran burning extravaganza at newspile . weebly . com

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    Thanks for reading and commenting, guys.

    First, Caliph, seriously? Are you just being contrary for the heck of it? You note that I “conveniently neglect” mentioning that the protesters were incited by their mullahs, not by Jones. Well that, to me, is worse. So, they can’t think for themselves, so just go out and picket against whatever you’re religious leaders tell you to. And what, might we ask, was the mullahs’ reasoning for inciting the protesters?

    You seem to commit the same type of omission that you claim I do. You cut the quote off when it was just getting important. Here’s the entire quote from Hafizullah:

    “Ninety percent of people have access to radios and they listen to the news very, very carefully,” Mr. Hafizullah said. Urged on by their mullahs, however, the protesters on Friday were determined to make a statement.

    “If burning the Koran ever did happen,” he said, “every foreigner in this country, one hundred percent of them, will be in trouble. Every Muslim is responsible to show their reaction to that. It is the right thing to do.”

    Thus, the very reason for the protests from an Afghan citizen.

    I think Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai’s point here is a bit muddled, but the main idea is that, some people in Afghanistan are not happy about the U.S.’s presence there (understandable), thus any controversial behavior from the likes of Terry Jones and others will be a point of contention to many in the Middle East. No one is denying that civilian casualties have occurred in Afghanistan, and people are probably upset about any number of occurrences. People are pissed off about all kinds of things in Afghanistan and elsewhere. But your point that recent protests might not have been completely about the Koran burning issue is plausible but some of them were. And there is no question of this. I don’t understand your defense of Jones at all, other than as an attempt to sully the idea of American forces in Afghanistan in the first place. The U.S. can leave, of course, if people there wish, but say hello to decades more of oppression and the smashing of humanity.

    The frame of reference in the New York Times story is that some folks in Afghanistan are protesting the Koran-burning idea. Want more evidence? Here’s another article with a picture that displays protests directly against Jones’ plan and a quote from the article:

    “Inside the turquoise-domed mosque, Mustafa Karim, a 21-year-old student, expressed frustration with Americans, saying: ‘They talk about peace, they say that they want peace. Is this peace? To burn the words of God? It is forbidden.'”

    Moreover, this issue has occurred at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which makes it even more poignant for some believers of Islam.

    Thanks for reading, Jordan and check back if you like. You too Caliph.

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    @ Jack: Haha. Thanks for posting that. Entertaining stuff a la The Onion.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/second-string-quran-burners-take-the/ A.B. Caliph

    I underestimated both your naiveté and your mendacity. You tell us, by way of The Times, that “Ninety percent of people have access to radios and they listen to the news very, very carefully.” Isn’t it fair then to surmise that Muhammed Daoud had access to a radio and listened to the news very, very carefully? If so, he was fully aware that the Florida Qur’an burning had been called off. Nevertheless, urged on by his mullah, he went out and joined an angry mob. The hysteria of inflamed, youthful male crowds being what it is, things got out of hand; shots were fired; Daoud fell dead. It had nothing to do with Pastor Jones.

    “And what, might we ask, was the mullahs’ reasoning for inciting the protesters?” You’ve got to be kidding! That’s what mullahs do. It’s part of their job description. No Islamist cleric worth his salt could pass up such an opportunity to dispatch at least one more martyr to his just rewards of 40 virgins and a camel in the sky.

    And please don’t tell me what danger foreigners in Afghanistan would be in “if burning the Koran ever did happen.” Foreigners in Afghanistan are in danger even if no one ever has or will set fire to a Qur’an. Thanks to Islamist xenophobia, foreigners in Afghanistan have always been in danger.

    You would be less transparent and more effective as an Islamist apologist, Jeremy, if you didn’t try so hard to twist every fact to fit your pro-war dialectic.

  • http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/second-string-quran-burners-take-the/ A.B. Caliph

    That last sentence requires elaboration. Islamists wage asymmetrical war with the West because it advances their agenda of world domination. The know the West can never win in Afghanistan, so it gives them an ideal opportunity to bleed us, both in terms of killed and wounded warriors and in terms of our national treasury. We will emerge depleted from our decade-long debacle in Afghanistan just as we have in Iraq.

    At the same time, Islamists want it to appear to the gullible millions (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) that they, the Islamists, are the victims here, not us. Thus they rely on apologists such as Jeremy to spin their pro-war message accordingly.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Bizarre trip you’re making, Mr. Kurtz…er, Caliph.

    Not only do you do little to diversify between Islamists and Muslims, but you also draw obscure lines to an apparent “pro-war” message cast out by a people whose country was invaded by the United States under ridiculous pretences.

    Please explain how the Islamists have a unique opportunity to “bleed us,” and I include us because Canadians are dying in Afghanistan as well, when the U.S. took to the conflict with open arms. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that “we” are “bleeding ourselves?” Or do you subscribe to the idiotic and historically inaccurate idea that “we” are better served fighting The Enemy over there than “we” are fighting it on our own shores?

    The Holy Quests of Afghanistan and Iraq, and indeed the Muslim world at large, are quests for ideas and resources, not heroic fights to the finish against an unstoppable enemy. It’s hard to paint the perpetrator of such a quest as anything less than bloodthirsty and it’s hard to paint the vast majority of Muslims and Islamists as anything less than victims when the vast majority of adherents to their religion have no blood on their hands.

    The way I see it, the innocent need apologists. Expecting twisted minds such as yours, poisoned with the xenophobic hatred of “Islam” and all things representing a different worldview to your own, to grasp the complexities of these issues is stupid, but there it is.

    I wonder how many steps it is away from your philosophy to a large scale imprisonment and holocaust of Muslims the world over. I’m guessing not many.

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    Again, you seem to be arguing just for the sake of it. Daoud may or may not have had access to radio. We don’t know. Maybe he was one of the 10 percent who didn’t. Maybe he listened and went out to protest anyway. We also don’t know how he got killed:

    “‘We do not know who shot them,’ Dr. (Sultan) Zada said. ‘Whether police shot them or coalition forces, it’s not clear.’ Local police officials could not be contacted to explain what happened.”

    But he most probably got killed in some way because he was involved in some Koran burning protest. Beyond that is conjecture. The poignant question is: If Jones hadn’t engaged in his Koran-burning campaign, would Daoud still be alive? I say yes. You’re free to disagree.

    You said: “That’s what mullahs do. It’s part of their job description. No Islamist cleric worth his salt could pass up such an opportunity to dispatch at least one more martyr to his just rewards of 40 virgins and a camel in the sky.”

    Good for them. I’m sure their make believe paradise will prove quite rewarding. Still, I believe that some religious leaders in Afghanistan have some faculties of reason left in them. Or else, it seems like we would have all already been undone.

    “Thanks to Islamist xenophobia, foreigners in Afghanistan have always been in danger.”

    You made my point for me, thanks!

    “Islamists want it to appear to the gullible millions (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) that they, the Islamists, are the victims here, not us. Thus they rely on apologists such as Jeremy to spin their pro-war message accordingly.”

    I agree with your first sentence but don’t know where your second sentence comes from at all.

    I presented a straightforward case that Jones is an extremist who deserves to be lumped with the other extremists in this world who would seek, either explicitly (through martyrdom) or implicitly (through burning books) to do innocent people harm because of or fueled by their beliefs.

    You assume way too much to say I’m an apologist of any kind regarding religion. Never did I make anything approaching that case. That’s a giant leap on your part. I’m not an apologist of any religion, nor a believer. And the “pro-war” pigeonhole in which you are trying to pin me? You have got to be joking.

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    Clarification on one sentence: “I agree with your first sentence but don’t know where your second sentence comes from at all.”

    should read:

    “I agree with your first sentence to some degree …” I don’t think all, or even most, Muslims seek to play the victim card, though this element may be at play in some cases.

  • http://www.godhatesfags.com/ A.B. Caliph

    Terry Jones has at least one sin for which he needs to be absolved.

    So begins your article, in which you virtually accuse Pastor Jones of murder, or at the very least complicity in the murder of Muhammed Daoud.

    Yet in your comment #9, you concede the presence of reasonable doubt as to what went down in the remote city of Bala Buluk in Afghanistan.

    Daoud may or may not have had access to radio. We don’t know. Maybe he was one of the 10 percent who didn’t. Maybe he listened and went out to protest anyway. We also don’t know how he got killed.

    But he most probably got killed in some way because he was involved in some Koran burning protest. Beyond that is conjecture.

    There’s way too much “we don’t know” and “maybe” and “most probably” and “conjecture” here to form the basis of your conclusion that if Jones hadn’t engaged in his Koran-burning campaign, Daoud would still be alive.

    It seems to me that you’re the one with a sin for which you need to atone. And that sin is rushing to judgment before all the facts are in.

  • zingzing

    alan kurtz: “There’s way too much “we don’t know” and “maybe” and “most probably” and “conjecture” here to form the basis of your conclusion that if Jones hadn’t engaged in his Koran-burning campaign, Daoud would still be alive.”

    well, there is some small chance he’d have died for some other reason. if jones hadn’t done what he did, then there wouldn’t have been this protest, in all likelihood. logically, statistically, you’re wrong here.

    a man’s dead in afghanistan because some moron in florida said something stupid. that’s the unfortunate truth. jones set this in motion.

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    “It seems to me that you’re the one with a sin for which you need to atone. And that sin is rushing to judgment before all the facts are in.”

    Would the man still be alive had Jones not gone on his wild campaign against Islam? The answer is most probably yes. Do you want me to amend my statement and say Jones “possibly” has least one sin for which he needs to be absolved. Fine, I’m willing to make the concession. But I don’t really believe that Daoud would have died anyway if Jones’ plan didn’t exist. And mine was an opinion piece, so I feel I have warrant to state what I think. As do you.

    Zingzing seems to feel the same way.

    Thanks, guys, for chiming in!

  • http://www.godhatesfags.com/ A.B. Caliph

    Don’t take too much comfort from the fact that #12 agrees with you. He/she is one of my well entrenched enemies here at Blogcritics, and reflexively responds against me no matter what I say, no matter what the issue.

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    Well, Caliph, I take you to be the same type of person. I’m sure there many contrary folks on blogcritics or other public circles. It’s not surprising nor comforting, just reality.

    Did I argue you into a corner? Do you have anything to add to my recent points or any others? I made quite a few. I’ve tried to address all your criticisms.

  • http://www.godhatesfags.com/ A.B. Caliph

    You didn’t “argue me into a corner.” I tacitly accepted your concession in #13. Nothing more to add.

  • zingzing

    alan kurtz: “He/she is one of my well entrenched enemies here at Blogcritics, and reflexively responds against me no matter what I say, no matter what the issue.”

    i’m a he, which you know, and you also know the rest of your response is wrong as well, unless you weren’t reading my defense of you all over your rape in the military piece. when you’re right, you’re right, but when you’re wrong, you’re wrong, alan. that’s how i approach you. you, on the other hand, have labeled me a “well entrenched enemy” just because i dared to disagree with you on more than one occasion (and i called you a dick once or twice). (but that you are, so i state it so.)

  • John Evans

    The otherwise utterly insignificant Terry Jones with his absurd, irrational nonsense, intolerance and hatred is no more a genuine Christian than any mad mullah. His whole attitude is entirely against Christian teaching. It seems to me that if the Arab world had been in the ascendancy, rather than the U.S. it would have been some similar insane person calling himself a christian fundamentalist who would have perpetrated appalling attacks against the arab world. I know many Moslems. I work with many. They are utterly repelled by the non-Islamic nonsense of the self-styled “islamic” fundamentalists.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Jeremy,

    Apparently, Caliph/Kurtz is jealous, because your Jones story is getting more attention than his.

    :O Pitiful.

  • Ruvy

    I gotta ask, Jeremy. If the Afghani mullahs incited the crowd to its actions, how is that the fault of Terry Jones? Wouldn’t it be the fault of the mullahs if the crowd burned an American flag and a dummy of Jones?

    Just sayin….

  • Ruvy

    I should point out also, that if someone died at this demonstration – or as a result of it – it is the fault of those who incited and organized the demonstration.

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    @Ruvy: The point wasn’t about easily-offended Muslims getting in protests. This happens all the time. Regardless of who explicitly started the protests in real time in Afghanistan, I was arguing that Jones’ plan spurred this particularly one, based conclusions drawn from referenced Times’ article. Myself and The Times may be wrong in drawing that conclusion, but it’s one I’m inclined to agree with. As I pointed out previously, there have been other recent protests in the area that could have had other reasons behind them, but the point was about this particular one.